MEET A REAL ALIEN
This is NOT a fabricated picture. This is a minuscule creature found EVERYWHERE on Earth and possibly in space. They've been on Earth for at least 20 million years. Since it clearly possesses its own space suit, NASA sent it up into space to see if it could survive. AND IT CAN.
Here are my reasons for declaring it a real, honest to God, space creature:
It can survive in space.
That means it can endure extreme COLD & HEAT, pressures, radiation, chemical poisonings.
No doubt due to that kickass space suit it's wearing.
And here is an interesting fact about it's suit. When in danger it can roll into a wrinkled ball and the suit hardens. The Tardigrade inside can then live inside for years without eating or drinking.
We don't actually know now long it can sustain this state of dormancy. We do know the life span of Tardigrade is about 6 months. However, if he's not having fun, he rolls into his impervious ball and stops aging, eating, drinking or carousing with the ladies.
For him, time stops, and when his sensors trigger a positive change in the environment, his suit will soften and he'll start living again. Thus, it's possible for Tardigrades to live very long lives, mostly asleep, if the conditions are poor.
Check out what looks to be the air filter on the suit. I swear to God, the suit looks like green rubber and the tube mouth looks plastic. But this guy is only a half millimeter long, so this an incredibly tiny suit, way beyond our ability to create.
You'll notice the suit does incur wear and tear and his eight legs and head, but otherwise looks in pristine condition.
The biggest Tardigrade found was .059 inch. I think that's about this big: -
Tardigrades tend to prefer a nice lichen or moss bed near the water, but they are found EVERYWHERE, so it may be that we just like to dig about for them in lichen and moss, because the photos are so pretty.
They've been found in sand dunes, dirt and water, both marine and freshwater. (i.e. everywhere)
Our scientists claim they have eight poorly articulated limbs. However, you can say the same about our astronauts when they are in their suits, wandering about on the moon. And I'm guessing with 8 legs plus tiny claws extending from each, that they are far less likely to fall over than our astronauts. So we shouldn't criticize.
Here's an odditity (assuming you haven't found the Tardigrade odd already): Each animal of a species of the Tardigrade family have the exact same number of cells. It's like they've been cloned.
Now, to that super weird mouth.
Even in close up that mouth looks plastic to me.
However, it turns out to be fierce. Inside the tube are stylets which will pierce the cells of whatever that tube incapsulates. Which means you should NEVER KISS a Tardigarde. I don't care how handsome you think he is. Don't do it!
See those plastic segments? They open into a wide muscular, sucking pharynx.
And what happens when you are sucked? You go directly to the intestine which occupies most of the body length. There you will be digested. Once all your goodness has been extracted, the remaining moves through a short rectum to the anus. In some species, your crappy remnants will be held until it molts. (This indicates to me, that Tardi efficiently uses most of what it consumes.)
Now to its eyes. First, we need to find them.
This is what we are looking for:
It's suppose to have two of them, then a bunch of sensory bristles all over its body. I have to be honest. I cannot find the eyes on the Tardigrade above, so I'm presenting a different, unwrinkled one:
You may think the two indention above the mouth are the eyes, but you would be wrong. Look further back on the side. I believe that is the eye after looking at arrows pointing to eye pictures. I could have shown you one of those pics, but this guy looks so cute.
Again: Don't kiss a tardigrade!
Well, all we've left to discuss is his magnificent brain. Only I'm not smart enough to do that. It's like they are talking about an alien creature...oh wait. The Tardigrade is unrelated to any other animal on Earth. He is truly an alien, and his brain is very different and I don't understand it all.
Now to mating: (Only to be done between two tardigrades.)
They are egg layers, but the various species do it differently. Some fertilize the eggs inside the female, others do it after they are laid.
Some species lay eggs when they molt, depositing them beside the molted claws and poop (that is all that remains of you since you ignored me and kissed one of them).
Wikipedia thinks they are long ago related to the Lobopodas (don't ask) but other articles claim there is no connection to any of our other animals. And since I'm thinking they are the true aliens living among us. I'm going with that belief.
Now we know what we need to achieve to survive space travel.
We need a really large, two legged version of the Tardigrade's super cool suit.
We are so doomed!